rejecting a technology über alles mentality


I'm going through some draft posts today and publishing things that may even be incomplete. Sometimes my posts are more polished and coherent than other times. But generally, they are streams of consciousness that I've scribbled down during coffee breaks or during other quiet moments before or after work. Sometimes I want to rework the thoughts into something more substantial, but sometimes I just want them out there.

I started writing this around the 19th of May but I'm actually only posting it on May 24th.

There is embedded in every great technology an epistemological, political, or social prejudice. Sometimes that bias is greatly to our advantage. Sometimes it is not. The printing press annihilated the oral tradition, telegraphy annihilated space, television has humiliated the word; the computer, perhaps, will degrade community life.

-Neil Postman

I realize that not everyone takes to readily to the application of theory in their daily lives, but for me, when I am trying to take in the bigger picture, I find theory a helpful way to provide a contextual framework for how things work. I suppose in some ways I should have been an academic, alas I am not. But theory is not limited to the field of academia. Imagine for a moment if the general public were more open to discussing theory. Consider the possibilities of understanding... That, however, is my utopic vision of the world. Instead we go about our everyday lives with an intense fury and don't always leave enough time to think at a deeper level. What concerns me most is not the so much the speed and intensity at which we live (which does still bother me) but the level at which we think. We're not afraid to inundate ourselves with endless reams of superficial data, but when it comes to that theoretical context - we just gloss over it - and provide information in "digestible chunks" as if we're too stupid to work through information presented in great volumes.

I write a lot about my conflict with information technologies - I find the computer a useful tool and I find it exciting that it makes a wealth of information available to us, but what purpose does that wealth of information serve? I think about this after reading up about digital engagement in the UK this morning... lots of things floating about in my head.